Sir Henry Slingsby's Shirt

Contributed by Knaresborough Castle and Courthouse Museum

Sir Henry Slingsby's Shirt

Sir Henry Slingsby is believed to have worn this shirt of finely woven linen at his execution at the Tower of London on the 8th June 1658. He was beheaded and his friends brought his body back to Knaresborough, for burial at the parish church. A simple marble slab, said to have come from St Robert's Priory in Knaresborough, covered his tomb.

Sir Henry was from Red House, Moor Monkton, North Yorkshire and supported the Royalist side during the English Civil War. His family had a close association with Knaresborough. In 1644 he was involved in the Royalist defence of York and probably the following Battle of Marston Moor, where an allied army of Parliamentary and Scottish troops led by Sir Thomas Fairfax and Lord Manchester defeated the Royalists.

Sir Henry sold his Red House estates in 1650 to other family members, fearful of having his property confiscated by the Parliamentarians.In 1654 he was involved in a demonstration by hundreds of Royalists to commemorate the Battle of Marston Moor.He was arrested at Red House in 1655 on suspicion of plotting to take Hull for the Royalists. He was taken to London for his trial for High Treason and sentenced to death on June 2nd 1658.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 15:36 on 25 April 2012, J Roy Elwen wrote:

    In September 1939 I was evacuated to Northalleton, North Yorkshire, and for two years I was billetted with Major Thomas Slingsby DSO and his wife in Romanby House, Romanby. Another boy was with me. On the landing just outside our bedroom was a display cabinet containing family treasures. The one item that I do remember is the shirt that his ancestor Sir Henry Slingsby wore when beheaded on Tower Hill in 1658. The shirt was buttoned up and had blood stains around the collar. As 11 year olds this had the most attraction.

    The Major and his wife had no family of their own. I know that Mrs Slingsby had a sister and thought that perhaps her children would be beneficiaries. Pure guesswork of course. Over the years my only thought had been 'What happened to the shirt?' It is only during the past 10 years or so that I have started to try to find out more about the Slingsby Family and so found out that the shirt was in Knaresborough Castle Museum.

    There never much to find about the Slingsbys until suddenly there seems to be lots of references including this reference about the shirt. I have a concern though because this photo does not appear to have 'blood stains.' The shirt is unbuttoned and perhaps the photo does not show the stains but at the same time I like to think that it is the shirt that resided in a cabinet just outside of our bedroom.

    Roy Elwen



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